The cost of New York’s clean energy program continues to go up for Board of Public Utilities users – though the state is doing its best to make sure customers don’t know it.
The cost of renewable energy credits and zero emission credits has increased from $1.6 million in 2019 to $2.6 million in 2022, a 62.5% increase. And that cost is only going to keep going up each year as the state works to reach the levels included in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which calls for the use of 70% renewable energy by 2030, an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.
The state’s program is going to be monstrously expensive, but one decision in particular is hurting the BPU. Hydropower, which provides 80% of the power used by BPU customers, isn’t being considered a renewable energy in the state’s Clean Energy Standard even though the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy considers hydropower a renewable energy source. But some influential environmental lobbyists oppose the classification of hydropower as renewable because they say dams and reservoirs are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the need for solar and wind projects.
Of course, that means the BPU has to pay more money in renewable energy credits than it would have to if the state considered hydropower a renewable energy source. And that means most of our readers and the businesses that employ them are paying more for their power.
One reason more people aren’t howling over this local cost is how effectively it’s hidden. The state has ruled against the BPU’s request to create a separate line item in a customer’s bill to show how much they are paying for renewable energy credits and zero emission credits. Instead, the credits are lumped into each customer’s fuel adjustment charge, nicely hidden from view even as they grow each and every year. If the state is going to make us pay these increasing costs every year, the least the state could do is make it easier for customers to see just how much the state’s decisions are costing them.
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